NOW NEW YORK CITY v. LARRY FLYNT


NOW New York City received CNN and Fox News Network coverage for its Jan. 7 news conference protesting the critically acclaimed film, "The People v. Larry Flynt." The movie by Milos Foreman and Oliver Stone presents Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt as a hero fighting for the First Amendment.

At NOW NYC's press conference, speakers included Gloria Steinem, Against Our Will author Susan Brownmiller, and Larry Flynt's daughter, Tonya. They protested the lionization of Flynt, whose magazine features demeaning pornographic portrayals of women and racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic cartoons and jokes. Speakers pointed out that Dwayne Tinsley, creator of the Hustler cartoon "Chester the Molester," which depicted pre-teen girls of all races being molested, was convicted in 1990 of sexually abusing his daughter. And in February 1996, Hustler publisher Joe Theron was arrested in Britain with 400 videos imported from South Africa, many of them depicting child pornography.

According to news reports, Tonya Flynt said her father was abusive and neglectful of her and her sister. She alleged that he cared only about making millions of dollars out of the sexual exploitation of women and children, while he allowed her and her sister to grow up in abject poverty. Speakers made note of the irony that our society should celebrate Larry Flynt as a proponent of freedom of speech when he really is an oppressor of women and children. Steinem said that a pornographer could no more be a hero than a publisher of Ku Klux Klan books, and Flynt could not get by with publishing pictures depicting cruelty to animals -- but does publish pictures portraying brutal violence against women.

In a separate action, NOW NYC succeeded in its protests against Saks Fifth Avenue. The chapter picketed Saks because of Saks' use of a workers' compensation defense in a sexual assault case. Saks finally withdrew the defense and settled with the plaintiff.

The chapter also celebrated its 30th anniversary with a presentation by NOW's first president, author Betty Friedan. (See "NOW Launches Women-Friendly Workplace Campaign")


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